Spring ’18 wardrobe: Haves and have-nots

Spring ’18 wardrobe: Haves and have-nots

There’s a sufficient level of flux and lack in my closet right now that I don’t feel like I can do quite the same sort of tight, functional closet inventory I’ve done the past couple of seasons. Instead, I’m taking stock of the key haves and the critical have-nots (with underlined notes-to-self along the way), in the hope of translating this into a very focused plan for what I get to knit and sew for myself in the near future. So from all of this will come the make list—

TOPS WITH SLEEVES (that aren’t wool or flannel)

I mean, crickets; see above. And this is the number one thing a person needs at this time of year — actually at least half the year here — when it’s too warm for flannel shirts or wool sweaters (both of which I do have, of course) yet not warm enough to be leaving the house sleevelessly. I have the one cotton fisherman sweater (old L.L. Bean); my blue Archer button-up (and the somewhat redundant chambray workshirt I rescued from Bob’s discards a couple years ago); my little black gathered sleeve top (never blogged); plus my black silk Elizabeth Suzann Artist Smock (no longer available), and to put that last one in the “sleeves” category is to define it loosely. So as keen as I am to sew myself some more pants, I need to concentrate on this area first and foremost.


Spring ’18 wardrobe: Haves and have-nots

If there’s one thing I have in spades, it’s sleeveless garments. I’m in decent shape for little sleeveless tops, with all my old chums hanging around: black silk gauze shell/black Adventure tee, striped Adventure tee, grey linen sleeveless tee (Everlane, no longer available), striped cotton shell, dotted chambray tunic (Endless Summer, made by a friend). Sadly, the one I lean on most — the white linen shell — was involved in a laundry mishap and is now a sad, dingy shade of not-quite-blue-ish. It can be solved by dyeing it a more deliberate shade of blue, but the little white top is a key piece of my wardrobe missing, so it needs to be replaced asap. A few of the others are looking a bit worse for wear at this point, plus a quick little sleeveless top is my favorite thing to make, so I’ll likely be adding a couple more (in color/pattern), in addition to replacing the white linen one.

In the not-quite-sleeves category, I have my little plaid top (never blogged), my blue stripe Fen and (not pictured) my two Harper Tunics: natural linen and olive cotton (no longer available), the former of which needs a dye job or some contrast stitching or something so it will look less deathly on me. But the olive one is a gem.

This is my favorite time of year for my black Sloper sleeveless turtleneck — either over a shirt or tee, or on its on. I’m also in good shape on vests — from my black Anna vest to my Cowichan-ish vest, which has its window of opportunity right now, to my very old J.Crew holdovers, the denim vest and trench vest. My beloved State Smocks are everything right now, through summer and fall. And my ES sleeveless navy canvas Clyde Jacket cum vest (top row, sample sale score of all time), which needs a bit of attention and then will be a big star of the season.


Spring ’18 wardrobe: Haves and have-nots

My army shirtjacket is my absolute favorite thing right now, thrown over everything from a sleeveless top to a smock to a dress with boots. The only one of my cardigans still in play is the black Linen Quill cardigan, which I recently blocked out a tad longer and have decided to leave alone once and for all, largely because I absolutely love how the length of it works with my State Smocks. And there’s the lovely tobacco-colored linen Nade tunic from last year (no longer available), which is easy to throw on over assorted sleeveless things. It would really be nice to have another season-spanning cardigan sweater.


Spring ’18 wardrobe: Haves and have-nots

This is a bit of a sad situation. Of the four pair of “toddler pants” I’ve made myself, two have gotten ruined in the wash. You already know about the original olive pair going all discolored. (I do still wear them around the house or on manual labor days.) Then after relying heavily on the cherished ivory pair all winter, I finally worked up the nerve to wash them — on delicate/cool, even though the fabric had been pre-washed in hot water. They came out about two sizes smaller and several inches shorter, so they’ve gone to a friend’s house for a try-on. (Sob!) That leaves the denim and the camo pairs, plus my clay-colored Wide Clydes, and it’s time to bring back out the black linen Florence pants. I’ve been itching to make some pants in a little bit different shape in a lighter faded-denim blue (among other things), but replacing the natural ones might now be top priority. And then there are my dark jeans (x3) and my natural jeans, but I’m just not wearing jeans as much lately and still feeling pretty happy about that.


Pretty much same exact situation as last Summer — i.e., I have a couple of newer workhorses and a couple of slightly older things that have gone unworn, and those I’m giving them one more chance. There have actually been two additions, which will show up in outfits and/or Summer inventory — an Ace&Jig Eve Dress is Forte that I bought at their sample sale last fall, and an Elizabeth Suzann Harper Dress in grey linen gauze bought at her sample sale in early December. It’s a big muumuu — invaluable come summer — but I do like it now with my tall boots and army shirtjacket. Still no sign of me starting to wear skirts, and no real needs in this category.

Now to figure out exactly how to fill the holes, and in what order.


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32 thoughts on “Spring ’18 wardrobe: Haves and have-nots

  1. I totally agree with you on skirts. They’re just not useful for me either. I adore that Nade tunic and have just decided that I will have to sew something similar. It could be so useful in our summer weather, which is more like your spring in that the temperature is often cool in the morning and evening, hot during the day.
    It sounds as though you have had some laundry trouble. My own solution to avoiding disappointment with handsewn items is to wash all fabric THREE time on hot, then dry completely, again on hot. I overcast the selvedges before throwing the fabric in the wash to avoid nasty tangles of thread. You’d be amazed at how much dye and dryer lint comes out! Good thing our city requests that dryer lint go into our compost bins.

  2. I’m the total opposite. I love skirts and rely on them as my wardrobe staple. I’m currently in a place where it is cold and very windy, and I’ve been wearing pants for weeks. I miss my skirts! I find them incredibly comfortable to wear and mix and match with a wide variety of tops and sweaters.

  3. Pants are, as mentioned before, on my list (have to remake a pair that suffered in the laundry as well) although I wear skirts all the time, especially in the summer. I’m known as the woman who wears dresses to go to (play) hockey.
    By the way, I really like those State smocks!

  4. I also really, really need to concentrate on tops with sleeves. I’m always at a loss in early spring when I no longer need to wear additional layers.

    • No, it’s beyond that, and I wouldn’t subject the linen to bleach, I don’t think. It’s an easy enough thing to replace, and dyeing this one a more deliberate blue (or having someone do it for me, more likely) will be a good thing to have. You know how white tops are — it was starting to look dingy around the perimeters anyway. So it’s all good.

  5. I adore dresses and skirts but enjoy them most on other people it seems. Proof: I have exactly one dress (Anna from By Hand London) and no skirts and about a million pairs of pants. Whatevs. I’m just more comfortable in a nice cigarette leg and pretty top and sweater. Deal with it world. But I have another niece getting married this year and I’ll be danged if I wear that same one dress to her gala-do so will probably whip up a pretty Lois dress by Tessuti.

    Also, you have my sincere condolences re your ivory pants. They were so perfect. I think we’ve all had that gut-wrenching experience of standing in front of the dryer holding up a shrunken treasure in utter disbelief, wondering who we can sue or, at the very least, scream at for such a terrible blow. :(

    • I don’t really even put things in the dryer anymore! I wash things rarely, on delicate, and lay them over dining chairs to dry. And they were washed in cool water, so it’s really perplexing and so sad. But I’m hoping they’ll find a happy new home.

  6. I can’t believe your ivory toddlers betrayed you! Loved the outfits with them in your holiday shop book. Hope they fit your friend.

  7. I know you’re not big on dresses BUT have you checked our Zuri? They have this concept of all you need is one dress and it can be worn different ways or even as outwear. They change their patterns often but they’re roomy and big like your smocks. You might want to give them a look, I bought one last fall that I love.

  8. I love these posts. So thought provoking. I’m keen to get into my wardrobe and clear out some stuff I’ll never wear again. Some of it is in very good condition so will be sold. I also have a pile of fabric to be sewn. Just need more time.
    And for Elizabeth Suzanne to release a range of sewing patterns based on her designs! Swoon!

  9. I’ve always wondered where your sleeved tops are. But then I live in Maine where sleeves are a necessity…. Doesn’t the Fen have a sleeve option? As well as Tunic no. 1 From Sonya Phillip? And the Grainline Hadley has lovely sleeves…
    I don’t understand about shrinking garments, you are pre-washing, aren’t you?
    Now that I have all these wide leg pants options I’m not sure whether I need skirts anymore…. Dresses are different, wear them all Summer, but otherwise pants are replacing all the skirts I used to wear. What’d ya know?

    • The natural toddlers are the only thing that has shrunk, and I’m not the one who did the pre-washing, so I was taking that part on faith. I should have re-washed just to be sure, but I was overeager.

      • Ah, enthusiasm….! Sometimes we just can’t wait! I have taught myself to wash every piece of fabric I buy as soon as I bring it home, so as to avoid the pitfalls of overeagerness…. I’m sure whoever ends up with those pants will love them as much as you did.

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  11. I definitely think you should have your laundry done professionally, that’s kind of a lot of casualties 😁

    • I took a calculated risk throwing the white top in with some light blue things that I thought wouldn’t fade any more (or not enough to be harmful rather than possibly helpful).

      I had a fabric that wasn’t color fast, which didn’t become clear until repeated washing. And I sewed with a fabric that was given to me with assurance it had been pre-washed, and didn’t re-wash it myself for good measure. Professional laundry wouldn’t have solved any of those problems, and I promise you none of this is par for the course with me.

      I’m a perfectly competent laundress!

  12. You may rarely use the dryer, but you should consider pre washing and drying to get maximum shrinkage before you cut. It sort of falls into the same category as washing your swatches.

    Here in Minnesota, the transition periods of fall and spring add up to at least as much time as either of the other two seasons. I get more wear out of fingering weight sweaters than I do of my heavy wool ones. Transitioning from light weight sweater plus long sleeved top, to light weight sweater over a tank top covers the period from late winter through early summer and the same for fall. Takes longer to knit, but it’s all about slow knitting, right? I don’t actually get the usefulness of heavy sleeveless knitwear for summer.

    • I do prewash fabric on warm (sometimes hot) and put it through the dryer. I generally don’t want to sew with any fabric that can’t withstand that. But once a garment is made, I want it to last, so I wash on delicate and air dry as much as possible.

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  16. I realize I am months behind, and off topic (all as usual), but did your Black Linen Quill Cardigan lose color when it was soaked and blocked? I have asked Purl Soho about color loss, and they recommended rinsing the skein just to check. I really don’t have a place to lay skeins out to dry these days, so I haven’t used the yarn I have. But I would like some input about the more intense shades before I try to get on with it.


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